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What are Rampley Forceps?

Brief Overview of the Rampley Forceps

The Rampley Forceps is a straight self-retaining, finger ring forceps with oval fenestrated tips used in general surgery to hold swabs and sponges or to grasp tissue. The forceps come in 18cm or 24 cm in length. The Rampley forceps are widely used in surgery with a variety of functions beyond their primary purpose.

The Rampley Forceps are different to the Forester Forceps which have round rather than oval tips, the Fletcher Forceps which have longer oval tips and the Peanut Forceps which are curved.

History of the Rampley Forceps

The Rampley Forceps is named after Josiah Rampley (1844 -1934) who was unusual in that he was a surgeon beadle and not a surgeon. A surgeon beadle is now called a surgical technologist. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate the success of invasive surgical procedures. Their roles can include ensuring that the operating room environment is safe and that the equipment used functions properly. A surgical technologist will often directly assist the surgeon during the procedure.

Josiah Rampley worked with the famous surgeon Sir Frederick Treves at the Royal London Hospital. He began his career in 1971 and was appointed in 1893 as the surgeon beadle when the previous beadle was fired for not having a stomach pump ready. It is estimated that at the end of the 19th century Josiah Rampley assisted with around 40,000 surgeries. The life of a surgeon beadle was extremely challenging, working 80 hours a week with only every second Sunday off. Josiah was referred to as the “Grand Old Man of the London Hospital” by the Dean in 1898 in the London Hospital Gazette.

Use of Rampleys Forceps

The prime function of the Rampleys Forceps is to hold swabs and sponges during a range of general surgeries.

The instrument is regularly used in gynaecological procedures such as holding the cervix during examinations or for separating membranes where the use of the forceps can minimise tissue damage. The Rampley forceps are also used for the Vaginal Uterine Artery Ligation process which is used to help lower the risk of hysterectomy following a birth.

Other uses of the Rampleys forceps include applying Onlay grafts during inguinal hernia repairs, removing polyps, holding tissue in lung surgeries such as bullectomies, removing laminated membranes and daughters cysts from a hydatid cyst and holding fundus and Hartman’s pouch during cholecystectomy

In 2008 an article was published by Cartmell and Dixon (surgeons at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol) describing the use of the instrument to hold the suture anoscope during a haemorrhoidectomy procedure.

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Article by Managing Director, Jonathan Lintott.